Tough Questions: What was one thing you wish you had asked a previous manager?

On a prompt from The Daily Post: Tough Questions

“This week, tell us about a moment in which someone asked you a question you weren’t sure how to answer, whether because you didn’t know, were too uncomfortable, or thought you might offend or confuse the other person.”

The question asked of me most recently in a job interview was (insert blog post title). My answer came after a long pause, because truly that was the first time I had ever been asked that exact question, either within an interview or without. In short, my answer was ways to acquire better skill for estimating completion time for proposals, projects, or being asked by impatient clients/managers on location of resolving an IT support issue. I had honed in on a particular manager who left a poor taste in my mouth after he effectively fired me (effectively because he just performed an action “mandated” by company policy), when the same query could’ve been posed to any of my managers. The question made me realize that while I’m quite over the incident and know now it was a move toward better opportunities (that office went downhill and was soon closed), I still hold a small grudge.

My firing had come because of a second occurrence within a policy-mandated time frame of the occurrence prior. I was responsible for a weekly report of IT tickets that were completed in the previous seven days, and about a month after I started this recurring task, I was asked about a ticket which hadn’t appeared on the report. I replied in an email (the same method through which this whole conversation took place) that it was absent because the ticket was still incomplete, and immediately followed with asking whether I should going forward include incomplete tickets, too. No answer, so I continued as per normal. Fast forward a couple years, another incomplete ticket didn’t make the report, only this one had been unresolved for longer than our policies said we could have open tickets, and because I was the one who hadn’t brought it to anyone’s attention, the company got in hot water with the client. I was “responsible” for that oversight, and so got the occurrence.

If I’m being honest, I’d say I shared about 20% of the blame. I could’ve called one of the people on the email, or spoken with them in person, or really just followed up a second time. The soreness results from this habit happened FOR YEARS, and still no one brought it to my attention again. Then, suddenly, when this error follows another in a couple weeks’ succession, I’m fired. Everything else on my record was superb. The staff we serviced liked me, loved my friendly and helpful attitude, I had just joined a company-wide committee to help improve the workplace atmosphere, I was rarely late and often left later than my shift, I was incredibly giving to my co-workers and even took calls off hours from them. But no, two occurrences and that’s it. *sighs*

Turns out the prompt brought up more to write about than I originally thought. Funny how one’s Writer’s Voice works out that way, no?

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